You’ve taken the plunge and upgraded your PC with a lightning-fast M.2 SSD. Excitedly, you boot up your computer, check the BIOS, and see that it’s recognized. But then, a moment of confusion: Windows doesn’t seem to detect the drive. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. This is a common scenario, and more often than not, it’s easily fixable. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get that M.2 SSD up and running.
1. Initialization is Key
Newly installed drives that haven’t been used before need to be initialized before Windows can recognize them.
- Press Win + X and choose Disk Management.
- If your M.2 SSD is detected here, you’ll be prompted to initialize the disk. Choose either MBR (Master Boot Record) or GPT (GUID Partition Table) based on your needs.
- Right-click on the unallocated space of your M.2 SSD, choose New Simple Volume, and follow the on-screen instructions.
2. Driver Check
Outdated or incompatible drivers can lead to hardware not being recognized correctly.
- Go to the SSD manufacturer’s website and check for any specific drivers or firmware updates available for your M.2 SSD model.
- Download and install the necessary drivers, then reboot your computer.
3. BIOS Settings
Sometimes, certain BIOS settings can prevent the M.2 SSD from showing up in Windows.
- Boot into the BIOS/UEFI firmware of your computer.
- Check if your M.2 slot is set to AHCI mode and not RAID.
- Ensure that the M.2 slot is enabled. Some motherboards disable certain slots if others are in use.
4. Check for Hardware Compatibility
Not all M.2 slots are the same. Some support NVMe (PCIe) drives, while others support SATA drives. Ensure your motherboard’s M.2 slot is compatible with the type of M.2 SSD you purchased.
5. Faulty M.2 Slot or SSD
It’s rare, but hardware faults can occur.
- If you have another M.2 slot on your motherboard, try moving the SSD to that slot and see if it’s detected.
- If you have access to another computer, check if the M.2 SSD is detected there.
6. Windows Update
Ensure your Windows OS is up-to-date, as some updates can help with hardware recognition.
- Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.
- Check for updates and install if any are available.
When an M.2 SSD shows up in BIOS but not Windows, it’s typically a software or configuration issue rather than a hardware fault. Following the steps above should help most users get their M.2 SSD recognized and functioning in Windows. If all else fails, it might be worth reaching out to the SSD manufacturer or seeking professional assistance.
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